WACO, Texas — The Heart of Texas Det. 975 Marine Corps League hosted their 3rd annual memorial stair climb at Jacob’s Ladder in Cameron Park this morning.
The stair climbing honors the first responders who climbed up 110 flights of stairs in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Commandant Rolando Hernandez started the event three years ago after finding out that Waco didn’t have a stair climb.
“The discomfort going up these steps, even though it burns our legs, we got to think what did those guys go through when they finally got to their last stop,” Hernandez said.
Their goal was to reach 24 relays, but they had over 300.
Some people took a couple laps, and others made sure to reach 2,000 steps.
Some of those who attended were in New York City on 9/11.
Jerry Valdivia retired from the New York Police Department in 2016. He was at a school when the terrorist attacks happened.
“We went to the roof of the school, and we could see plain as day, the Twin Towers and the smoke and everything,” Valdivia said.
He said after that day, he was working 12-15 hour shifts.
“It was like a movie, it was so surreal,” Valdivia said. “Those images get burnt in to our memories.”
He said he likes to remember the positive things.
“People just showed up wanting to do stuff, wanting to help,” Valdivia said. “That part was really really amazing.”
Hernandez hopes this event will continue to grow each year, and his goal is to make it a city sponsored event.